The owner-operator of a Tinton Falls commercial office cleaning business must spend a plea-bargained year and a day in federal prison for ducking nearly a half-million dollars in taxes, authorities said.
John Storz, 54, of Eatontown had told a federal judge in Trenton last summer that he paid employees under the table from more than $1.2 million worth of client checks that he cashed at a check-cashing business.
Storz also used the business account of Class A Cleaners to cover personal expenses, such as his mortgage, life insurance, car lease and home utility payments, as well as for personal credit card purchases, the IRS said at the time.
Storz deducted the items as business expenses on company corporate returns, which allowed him to also reduce the amount of ordinary business income he reported on his personal tax return, said Michael Montanez, the special agent in charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Newark Field Office.
All told, Storz failed to pay $451,694.75 owed to the IRS, he said.
Rather than go to trial, Storz took a deal from the government, pleading guilty last June to employment tax charges and tax evasion following an investigation by Montanez’s office.
In addition to the federal prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Peter G. Sheridan ordered Storz via teleconference to pay $395,723.46 in restitution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah A. Sulkowski secured the plea and sentence.
“With this year’s filing season just beginning, [Thursday's] sentencing should send a strong deterrent message to those individuals who would attempt to evade their federal tax obligations,” Montanez said. “If you cheat on your taxes, there are consequences, including being a convicted felon with a prison sentence to serve for your crime.”
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